August 1, 2007

ITALIAN HORROR FILM MAESTRO CELEBRATED IN COLORFUL BIO

 
Career of influential cult director Mario Bava becomes
the work of a lifetime by noted genre expert Tim Lucas
 
"Tim Lucas has devoted himself to getting the word out about Bava's greatness," writes film director Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, The Departed) in his Introduction to Mario Bava All the Colors of the Dark (Video Watchdog), "[and] this book is the pinnacle of his efforts."
 
Indeed, in this massive new critical biography -- the product of interviews with more than 100 colleagues, friends and family members, and 32 years in the making -- Lucas explores in unprecedented detail the life and legacy of one of the most original, influential, and secretive filmmakers of the 20th century.
 
Best known as the maestro of many aggressively cinematic, candy-colored Italian horror and fantasy films (Black Sunday, Black Sabbath, Danger: Diabolik), Mario Bava spent the first twenty years of his career as one of Italy's leading cinematographers, during which time he was helped to cultivate the screen personas of such actors as Aldo Fabrizi, Gina Lollobrigida, and Steve Reeves. He was literally present at the beginning of each new form of cinema native to his country, from operettas to neorealism to sword and sandal movies to Spaghetti Westerns. Most importantly, he was the principal visionary behind the Golden Age of Italian fantasy, which lasted from 1957 until his death in 1980.
 
Now, for the first time in any language, Lucas explores Bava's first two decades of cinematographic achievement, as well as his next two decades as a director whose work has been acknowledged as a major influence by such filmmakers as Scorsese, Tim Burton, Quentin Tarantino, Joe Dante, and Guillermo del Toro. In the course of his research, Lucas discovered that Bava often contributed uncredited direction, photography or special effects to the films of friends in need, and provides entire chapters of documentation elucidating this "Secret Filmography." Also included is the story of Mario's father and mentor Eugenio Bava, a silent film cameraman and the father of Italian special effects, who rose from contributing set decoration to Pathe Frères shorts to photographing Quo Vadis?, from creating special effects for Cabiria to an executive wartime position in Mussolini's film factory, the Istituto LUCE. The cumulative result is not just the story of "the supreme visual poet of the Italian gothic cinema" (The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror), but a century-long family saga that occupies the first hundred years of Italian popular cinema -- a history not previously explored in English in such detail. 
 
A staggering, 12-pound labor of love, interweaving biography, history and criticism, Mario Bava All the Colors of the Dark consists of 1128 pages of four-columned type (nearly 800,000 words!), fully illustrated with well over 1000 stills and annotated poster art from all over the world, most in full color and all subjected to a three-year process of meticulous digital restoration. Included are never-before-published family photos, documents, and drawings by Bava himself, and an eye-popping array of images that Bava fans never expected to see: a wealth of color shots taken on the set of the B&W classic Black Sunday, the only photos taken of Catherine Deneuve while briefly cast as the female lead in Danger: Diabolik, and dozens of pictures of the notoriously camera-shy director himself. The extensive appendices include filmographies for Mario and Eugenio Bava, international discography and videography, name and film title indexes, and a generous gallery of storyboard art by Bava, including his complete art for an unproduced 1970s project, Baby Kong.

With an Introduction by Martin Scorsese and a Foreword by the late Italian director Riccardo Freda, Mario Bava All the Colors of the Dark marks an exciting new development in the fields of film-related biography and book-making. Simply to page through this remarkable tome, as overpoweringly visual as any of Bava's own films, is to feel like you're watching an epic film.
 
Mario Bava All the Colors of the Dark is available from Video Watchdog at www.bavabook.com.
 
Video Watchdog, PO Box 5283, Cincinnati OH 45205-0283, www.videowatchdog.com, 1-800-275-8395 or 513-297-1855.
 
Hardcover, clothbound, gold stamping on front and spine
Dimensions in inches: 10.85w x 11.87h x 2.63d
Dimensions in centimeters: 27.6w x 30.1h x 6.7d
Full-color French-fold laminated dust jacket
Full-color endpapers
1128 Glossy, full-color pages
Binding: stitched, extra-reinforced, roundback
12 lbs (5.45 kgs)
ISBN: 0-9633756-1-X
 
ADVANCE PRAISE
 
"Exhaustive, perceptive... This book deserves a place on the bookshelves of all serious film lovers." -- Martin Scorsese, director of Goodfellas and The Departed
 
"It's absolutely mind-boggling! I don't know what Mario Bava would have made of all this, but wherever he is, he must be blushing Technicolor crimson... and very proud." -- Joe Dante, director of Gremlins and The Howling 
 
"No one knew the circles of Hell like Bava, and in Tim Lucas we have found our perfect Virgil." -- Guillermo del Toro, director of Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Tim Lucas is the editor and co-publisher of the award-winning monthly Video Watchdog, The Perfectionist's Guide to Fantastic Video. His articles, essays, and criticism have appeared in dozens of magazines in America and abroad, including Film Comment, Cahiers du Cinema, American Cinematographer, Fangoria and Cinefex. He is also a published novelist (Throat Sprockets, The Book of Renfield) and comics writer (Taboo), a DVD audio commentator, an award-winning blogger (Video WatchBlog), and a monthly columnist for the British magazine Sight and Sound.
 
 
PRESS AND INTERVIEW INQUIRIES are welcome.